When I was little, I had a security blanket that I took everywhere with me. It was yellow with satin ribbon edging, and whenever I was feeling a little unsure about things I would stroke the satin against my cheek and everything would be alright. Over time, the satin ribboning wore away, and even after Mum sewed another layer on for me, that layer also wore through, as more and more uncertainty crept into my world.
Let me tell you, if I had had my blanket on the start line of the Vallidolid world cup yesterday, Mum could not have sewed on satin fast enough to keep up with demand. I was sh*tting myself.
The course was, to borrow a phrase from the race organisers' profile map, 'deceptively rolling'. What is 'deceptively rolling'? Is it that it looks flat, but is really rolling... or does it look rolling, but in fact is flat? Expect the unexpected, I guessed. Which funnily enough was what ran through my head as I picked myself out of a grassy ditch at the 96km mark. It all started innocently enough... the 50kph neutral start, the massive sea of helmets converging and separating, the squeak of carbon race pads and shouts of 'oooh, aye!' every few kilometres. I was a bit starstruck seeing all these famous riders up close, not only seeing them but racing against them. (Actually, to be completely honest all my starstruck-edness was retrospective; the only riders I recognised were those wearing rainbow stripes or the world cup leader's jersey... everyone looks the same in lycra.)
Race poster... enough to make me break out in a sweat
Our team comprised Tiffany Cromwell, Carlee Taylor, Rachel Neylan, Amanda Spratt and myself. The day beforehand we had flown into Valladolid and been greeted by a bleary-eyed Marv who had been driving for 2 days with Macca, Beth, Michael and Laura from Italy. We went to our hotel, had a slap-up meal and went to team presentations in the city square, which involved all the teams being called up and presented to the public.
Vallodolid central, where team prezzos were held
The race itself was an experience. Tiff and Spratty were our annointed breakaway bandits, with Carlee, Rachel and I charged with the responsiblity of covering moves in the first 85km. At the pointy end of the race, Carlee, Tiff and Spratty all finished in the front bunch after launching a nunber of attacks in the final few kilometres. Va Australia! You can get the full results here
; I won't replicate the report. For me, lady luck was not smiling yesterday. I got my front spoke broken at 96km by an overzealous competitor and while waiting for a wheel change on the edge of the road (so...approx 5 secs) I inexplicably got rammed from behind by a group of 4-5 girls travelling at full tilt. No idea how but there you go, and it wasn't pretty. I was the only one who got up, which messed with my head a bit. After chasing through the convoy of team cars for a while, and knowing I wouldn't get back on, I caught the grupetto and finished the race.
Tomorrow is Durango-Durango, a 1-day race in the Basque region of north-east Spain. Hills, hills and more hills.We are here for the next week or so as we have a 4 day tour here beginning on Thurs.
The last pic I'll leave you with (on the left) was taken the night before we left for Spain. It's a beautiful sunset, as seen from the window of our apartment at the AIS base.
Enjoy the view!